Suffolk robot invades USA

WORLD domination could be the next stage for this Ipswich group of roboteers as they hope to conquer America.

WORLD domination could be the next stage for this Ipswich group of roboteers as they hope to conquer America.

The team are currently in the States and plan to take it by storm at one of the world's largest robot competitions, RoboGames.

Team Storm, whose first ever sponsor was The Evening Star, has achieved amazing success since first appearing on BBC 2's Robot Wars in 2001.

Having clinched the title of world champion and dominated the UK Robot Wars scene for the last few years, they now want to broaden their horizons and are in San Francisco to make their mark with Storm II on the international stage.

Thanks to a major sponsorship deal by two IT companies, they now have the funding to take part in regular competitions in America.

Ed Hoppitt, co-creator of the robot, said: “It was fantastic news when we heard. The sponsorship deal is one of the biggest robot deals ever made.

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“Everyone else seems to think we will win but who knows. It is the luck of the draw to some extent. We are looking forward to it.”

In 2000, two friends, Mr Hoppitt and Tim Bence watched the programme Robot Wars and decided they could do better.

Their first robot never made it to television, but their second machine Storm II has only ever lost one fight on TV.

Since sponsorship from the Star, other companies have offered their help, including BT and Castlebroom Engineering.

This year has seen the team reach new levels of success, having joined forces with two heavyweights of the IT world, Computacenter and VMWare.

Their combined funding will enable the team to travel to international competitions, keep Storm II running and even possibly build a successor to Storm II. Some of the money will also be used to help see young roboteers through the Team Storm Academy, which has just been set up this year.

Mr Hoppitt said: “The sponsorship deal means we can join in competitions in the States on a regular basis. We are setting up an academy to give money back to the community in the form of games for youth projects, i.e children that want to make their own robots.”

The four-day competition is due to finish on Sunday.

Has your organisation been sponsored to take part in a major event? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Storm II weighs 100kg and delivers a power to weight ratio that exceeds a rally car

During the team's first round, they caused the most damage ever to a house robot

Storm II is the most successful robot competing in the world today in terms of the speed

It took just nine months from Storm II appearing on BBC2's Robot Wars and winning the New Blood competition to being crowned the Robot Wars World Champion at RAF Newton

With the help of their sponsors, they are looking to build a new robot in 2009

To follow their progress via their blog or for more information about the academy, visit www.teamstorm.com.